Continuing education is important in many fields and fire protection engineering is no exception. With rapidly changing technology and code updates, upgrading skills and the ability to adapt to new situations is becoming essential to the fire protection engineering industry. A recent article in Fire Protection Engineering Magazine by Kenneth E. Isman reviews various challenges seen in today’s fire sprinkler industry and offers insight to fire protection engineers on how to handle such challenges. Isman has been working in the fire sprinkler industry for over twenty years and currently serves at the Vice President of Engineering for the National Fire Sprinkler Association (NFSA). The article, “Challenges for the Fire Sprinkler Industry”, breaks the major challenges seen in the industry into the following categories: design, standards, specification, maintenance, and education. Isman concludes the article by stressing how education is an extremely important component for fire protection engineers when it comes to any fire sprinkler industry challenge:

All of the issues discussed previously in this article have one thing in common. Every person in the fire protection business has to stay connected to a source of information to stay educated on what the problems are and what potential solutions exist to solve those problems. In many of the circumstances discussed here, the Fire Protection Research Foundation has played a significant role in developing a solution, or in starting research that will (hopefully soon) lead to a solution.

In other cases, the National Fire Sprinkler Association and the Society of Fire Protection Engineers are sources to look to for solutions to problems. Educational opportunities present themselves in many ways. Formal training is available in classrooms and over the Internet, and less formal opportunities arise at local Chapter and national conferences. With today’s quickly shifting codes, standards and research, the practicing engineer needs to stay plugged into a network of education and information to stay on top of all of the challenges, so that the client gets the best level of fire protection available.

By Jeff Harrington, CEO and Founder of Harrington Group, Inc.